Audio

JR x Okmalumkoolkat x Spoek Mathambo 'Bob Mabena'

South African rappers JR, Okmalumkoolkat, and Spoek Mathambo team up on 'Bob Mabena.'


Motswako vet JR enlisted two of our favorites Okmalumkoolkat and Spoek Mathambo for some quotable bars on the latest edition of his nod to South African radio icon Bob Mabena– who recently celebrated his 25th year in the industry. Spoek first teased "B.O.B" a few weeks back on his all-South African rap mix (which has since been taken down). The track has now come to proper light on JR's Feel Good Music label, and from the looks of it, this is one all three rappers were especially excited about. Okmalumkoolkat took to instagram earlier today to explain:

"This one is for the new new but carries a lot of heritage for the youth. I feel blessed to be in the forefront of youths that celebrate local heroes like Bra Bob Mabena. The man is definitely someone to look up to. From being part of the whole BopTv shandees to making Metro FM very kool in the 90s. Taking television presenting to the next level with Melanie Son on Studio Mix. Introducing a lot of South Africans to Makaveli ( Tupac Shakur ) to being one of the first Tv x radio personality to record and put out an Ep ( Get Funky ) and collabo with the hottest football plaer at the time ( Doctor Khumalo ) . A real inspiration to me!"

Look for "B.O.B" to drop on iTunes May 30th. Until then, you can stream it below.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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